I know, I know. Another thread on the bombings in London. Still, after reading a recent fracas in the Pit, something occurred to me. In 2001, 2002, and 2004, there was a bombing which was later linked to Al Qaeda, as was last Thursday’s bombing in London. 2001, of course, was New York and the Pentagon; 2002 was Bali; 2004 was Madrid. I don’t remember anyone offering to fly Fijian flags after Bali was bombed or Spanish flags after Madrid was bombed, so what makes last Thursday different?
For me, it’s because I was born in England and still have family living there, but that doesn’t apply to America as a whole. Here are my theories.
First, timing. Word that London had been bombed came out shortly after 5:00 am Eastern time, when most network stations were already running their morning news shows and people were tuning in, as I do, to find out what’s happening with basic things like weather and traffic. If you wanted to time something so it would be bound to make the news, I’d pick either early in the morning or about 4 or 5 in the afternoon to catch people watching the news after they come home from work or while they’re driving home from work.
Second, media presence. American news media already had a lot of people in Great Britain to cover the G8 summit and the announcement that London had been given the 2012 Olympics. I’m fairly sure the networks were planning live feeds from London on Thursday morning anyway to show Londoner’s reactions to getting the Olympics, just as they would have done if they Olympics had been awarded to Paris or New York. There was no need to fly people in from somewhere else; they were already on-site and ready to go.
Third, similarity. Americans think, fairly accurately, that they and Englishmen have a lot in common. They speak a more or less common language and have more history in common with England than they do with Spain, Fiji, or Australia (most of the victims in Bali were Australians). This isn’t some remote tropical island or a city they’ve barely thought of although I’m not sure I know what it is, thanks to my hybrid existence.
Anyway, those are my theories and they’re biased by my own experiences.